Postdischarge symptoms and rehabilitation needs in survivors of COVID-19 infection: A cross-sectional evaluation

J Med Virol. 2021 Feb;93(2):1013-1022. doi: 10.1002/jmv.26368. Epub 2020 Aug 17.


Background: There is currently very limited information on the nature and prevalence of post-COVID-19 symptoms after hospital discharge.

Methods: A purposive sample of 100 survivors discharged from a large University hospital were assessed 4 to 8 weeks after discharge by a multidisciplinary team of rehabilitation professionals using a specialist telephone screening tool designed to capture symptoms and impact on daily life. EQ-5D-5L telephone version was also completed.

Results: Participants were between 29 and 71 days (mean 48 days) postdischarge from hospital. Thirty-two participants required treatment in intensive care unit (ICU group) and 68 were managed in hospital wards without needing ICU care (ward group). New illness-related fatigue was the most common reported symptom by 72% participants in ICU group and 60.3% in ward group. The next most common symptoms were breathlessness (65.6% in ICU group and 42.6% in ward group) and psychological distress (46.9% in ICU group and 23.5% in ward group). There was a clinically significant drop in EQ5D in 68.8% in ICU group and in 45.6% in ward group.

Conclusions: This is the first study from the United Kingdom reporting on postdischarge symptoms. We recommend planning rehabilitation services to manage these symptoms appropriately and maximize the functional return of COVID-19 survivors.

Keywords: SARS CoV-2; acute respiratory distress syndrome; post-COVID syndrome; post-intensive care syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / rehabilitation*
  • Critical Care
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult